Last week as we were sorting through our piles of CDs and accumulated MP3 files, we started to notice how big the stack of recent excellent LA music was. It became apparent that we're in the middle of a pretty great year for Los Angeles releases, and decided to give mid-year props to our faves. With the fall approaching, a whole new batch of notable LA sounds will arrive, so the good news is that our year-end list may look very different than this one.
6. Mika Miko, We Be Xuxa (PPM)
It's funny to call Mika Miko "veterans," but four albums and countless singles and eps later, the punk band is hitting its peak. Short song bursts and smart, surreal songs about turkey sandwiches, wild bores, and lots of shit we can't understand because vocals are buried so far below the guitars. Which is a good thing, because MM uses great guitar sounds.
Only two of the eleven songs (and one remix) clock in at longer than 2 minutes, but these songs roam as though they epics. Will We Be Xuxa change music? No, this stuff's been done way too many times before to be truly revolutionary. But revolutions begin the head, and these songs are strong enough to wander around in your head for weeks on end, and there's a good chance they're in their plotting some sort of insurrection.
Mika Miko - Turkey Sandwich (MP3)
5. The Long Lost, The Long Lost (Ninja Tune)
The frustration of the year is that The Long Lost's eponymous full length hasn't gotten nearly the attention it's deserved. This beautiful make-out album should be drawing raves akin to last year's She & Him record -- because this is better than that, though it drinks from the same fountain. The Long Lost is electronic composer Alfred "Daedalus" Darlington and his wife, the artist Laura Darlington. They worked on this record for years, and you can tell: it's lush, perfectly produced and sequenced for maximum effect. Touchstones include the beautiful Getz/Gilberto records, the aforementioned Zooey Daschenal and M. Ward She & Him project, Serge Gainsbourg's cocktail pop and countless romance-inspired long players. We've listened to this record often this year; it's helped us get to first base on a couple of choice candlelit occasions, and has offered melodic tenderness in the mornings. In a word: keep this in a strategic spot near your bedroom stereo.
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10. Audacity, Power Drowning (Burger Records)
9. Foreign Born, Person to Person (Secretly Canadian)
8. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Up from Below (Fairfax/Community Recordings)
7. Frankel, Anonymity is the New Fame (Autumn Tone)